ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud health officials are taking every precaution should the Ebola virus make its way to Central Minnesota.

Members of the St. Cloud Hospital and Gold Cross Ambulance held a practice drill this morning (Thursday) to make sure all safety measures are taken if the virus should land in St. Cloud.

Emergency Trauma Center Coordinator Rayette Heise says hospitals across the state have been working on plans to protect their communities since talk of the outbreak this past fall.

"Hospitals all over the country have been coming up with plans to fight Ebola and protect their staff and other patients," says Heise.

Crews went through a real life scenario drill on what procedures should be taken if someone is showing signs of having Ebola.

Gold Cross Operations Manager Tom Travaglio says for the first practice things ran smoothly.

"It went good, we're trying to do this real time, you know follow the protocols and procedures we have in place," says Travaglio.

Heise the virus shouldn't be taken lightly and having a plan in place is key to keep it from spreading.

"This virus is horrible, it can make you very sick. But we also know that the mode of transmission can be protected and we are going to do our very best to protect the community," says Heise.

Travaglio say he hopes everyone can learn from this drill and that everyone can stay safe in the process.

"That's one of the things I hope they learn too is how to do this safely. It's just as important to take the equipment off as it is to put it on," says Travaglio.

So far two people have died in the five months since the Ebola virus became known.


Members of Gold Cross pile out of the truck during the Ebola practice drill. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)